Each year the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) recognises the highest levels of achievement in research and innovation across the built environment through its International Innovation and Research (I&R) Awards. In the first quarter of each year, the judging process is concluded and awards for the previous year are announced. By recognising best practice, the awards aim to raise performance levels and ultimately improve the quality of the built environment. Importantly, the awards also encourage the brightest industry newcomers, the recent graduates and postgraduates who are already making a valuable contribution and could lead on innovation in the future. The 2014 competition registered 178 entries from 17 different countries. Six Premier Award winners were selected to recognise their outstanding achievements in academic research and industry innovation. You may remember that the 100th issue of Innovation & Research Focus also included an article on the I&R Awards, covering the 2013 winners.
CIOB’s International I&R Awards cover any built environment related-area and this is reflected in the range of winners that cover the six different categories of awards. The six categories are: Innovation Achiever’s Award, Digital Innovation Award, Undergraduate Dissertation Award, Masters Dissertation Award, Research Paper Award and Innovation in Education & Training Award. On page 1 you will find an article on Utterberry Wireless Sensors, winner of the Digital Innovation Award. For each category there are three levels of awards – the highest ranked Premier Award, the Highly Commended, and the Merit Award.
The Innovation Achiever’s Award recognises outstanding industry-based innovation that has improved upon – or extended beyond – current expectations of best practice. The Award aims to celebrate individual excellence in innovation. The 2014 Premier Award winner in this category went to Robert Harris and Stanley Whetstone for their innovation ‘OxypodTM: A Clear Solution to Energy Efficiency’.
The OxypodTM is an egg shaped device developed by Stanley Whetstone from an original idea formulated by builder Robert Harris. The development received financial support from the Goodwin Development Trust. Used in closed-looped heating systems, the device removes trapped and dissolved air from the system, boosting energy efficiency by as much as 30%. Air trapped in water in closed-loop heating systems causes corrosion in the pipes, leading to the formation of magnetites, or “black sludge”. It also slows the water down, makes it harder to heat and causes extra pressure and strain on the system.
The benefits of installing OxypodTM include: significant energy reduction in all types of systems; faster heat up and recovery times; lower running temperatures and greater comfort levels. Radiators hold the heat for longer, reducing the frequency of boiler ignition and burn times. Systems are quieter and the circulation pump runs without any vibration.
Two of CIOB’s award categories are open to students, either undergraduates or masters students. The international nature of the awards was highlighted amongst student award winners with universities represented from the UK, Singapore and Nigeria. In the Masters Dissertation Category the Premier Award went to Dean Elder from the University of Ulster. His research looks at improving the safety of single carriageways in Northern Ireland. His study examines road traffic collisions on single carriageways, exploring the performance of wide single 2+1 carriageways as an effective road safety engineering solution to Northern Ireland’s single carriageway network.
The importance of research and innovation in the safety performance of building projects was highlighted in the Research Paper category. The Premier Award went to Dr Yingbin Feng from the University of Western Sydney, Australia. His study investigates the effect of investment on safety performance, and identifies some key influencing factors. A key finding in his study indicates the importance of site culture and project conditions. Investment in basic safety has a stronger positive effect on accident prevention if the project already has a robust safety culture and project hazard level. On the other hand, corresponding levels of investment in projects with a poor safety culture will not yield such positive results. The findings suggest that increasing protection and creating a safer environment will not necessarily raise safety performance if site culture has also not improved. So contractors’ interventions should combine physical protection with other cultural safety measures.
The last award category is the Innovation in Education and Training Award. The top award in this category went to Dr Robby Soetanto who teaches construction management at Loughborough University. He is responsible for developing the BIM-Hub, an innovative teaching and learning approach for future built environment professionals to work in a BIM (Building Information Modelling) environment. With increasing international collaboration in the building industry resulting in fast-growing demand for professionals that can work in virtual teams within online BIM environments, built environment students with BIM competencies will have a competitive advantage in the job market. The BIM-Hub initiative explores how educators can help students hone their BIM competencies, and their ability to collaborate internationally in a real time collaborative BIM environment.
For further information on the CIOB I&R Awards 2014, please visit http://iandrawards.ciob.org/winners/2014. Alternatively please contact Dr Chung-Chin Kao, Head of Innovation and Research, the Chartered Institute of Building (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).